Life is like a song. It has crescendos and rhythm and a beginning, middle and end. The Threshold Choir takes this song metaphor literally and uses it to comfort individuals who are ill or near the end of life, with music and harmony. While singing at bedsides, people have told the singers they feel less pain, anxiety and loneliness.
Threshold Choirs were the creation of Kate Munger. They have expanded from their origin in California in the year 2000 to 200 choirs worldwide. Sixteen of these choirs are in Canada.
Pure Joy Threshold Singers was started in December 2017 by Mary Dennison. We have members from Quadra Island and Campbell River. We were meeting twice monthly pre-Covid 19. During the Pandemic, we met on Zoom twice a week for two hours each time. We are finally back to meeting in person…once a month at the United Church at Cape Mudge and once a month in a members’ home in Campbell River.
Our choir accepts requests from families, hospice nurses, and others to sing for persons who are dying. The information below is from the Threshold Choir International website, thresholdchoir.org.
When we are invited to a bedside, we visit in groups of 2 to 4 singers. We invite families and caregivers to join us in song or to participate by listening. We choose songs to respond to the client’s musical taste, spiritual direction, and current receptivity. Most of the songs we offer are composed by Threshold Choir members specifically to communicate ease, comfort, and presence. Other pieces may include rounds, chants, lullabies, hymns, spirituals, and choral music. We know that many communities of faith surround their members with this kind of circle of comfort; because our songs are not religiously oriented, we hope our singing can be equally available to those who might be deeply spiritual but not necessarily religious.
A session typically lasts about 20 minutes; if there appears to be benefit, we might sing longer. Using soft, lullaby voices, we blend in harmony or sometimes in unison, if that provides the most comfort. We offer our singing as gentle blessings, not as entertainment, and we are honored when a client falls asleep as we are singing. Most of our songs are very short, so their repetition is conducive to rest and comfort.
Families have said that our presence helps them to “be” with their loved one after the “doing” is done. Often they will continue to sing for their loved one after we have departed.
The service is our gift; there is no charge.
To make a request or join the choir, contact Mary Dennison, email@example.com.